As a retired army officer and an adjunct history professor I thought it was important to review what I consider the best war movies depicting the challenges of leadership and the command of men.
"In Harms Way" is one of the best movies at depicting how a good leader puts the mission before his personal relationships, even when it involves family and good friends.. Captain Rockwell Torrey (John Wayne), and Commander Paul Eddington (Kirk Douglas), are part of the Navy's effort to retaliate for, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Torrey is romantically involved with nurse Maggie Haynes (Patricia Neal), and also tries to restore his relationship with his estranged son, Jeremiah, a young Naval officer.
I always liked John Wayne in war movies more than in westerns. I love the tensions the movie sets up between Wayne's character who was an absentee father and his son who resents his father’s involvement in his life. Also, Wayne's friendship for Douglas vs. the duty of a superior disciplining a subordinate. A classic war movie that should be viewed by all who like the genre.
What did you think of this review?
In Harm's Way is a 1965 American epic war film produced and directed by Otto Preminger and starring John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Patricia Neal, Tom Tryon, Paula Prentiss, Burgess Meredith, Brandon De Wilde, Jill Haworth, Dana Andrews and Henry Fonda. It was the last black-and-white World War II epic and the last black-and-white John Wayne film. It received a mixed response over the years as a war story that had a simple story but not a complex one or a great one, a charge leveled against Preminger's later movies, starting with this one. The screenplay was written by Wendell Mayes based on the novel Harm's Way by James Bassett.
The film recounts the lives of several US naval officers and their wives or lovers while based in Hawaii as the US involvement in World War II begins. The title of the film comes from a quote from American Revolutionary naval hero John Paul Jones: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast, for I intend to go in harm's way."